Converting an Atomiswave SD cab to HD, part 1

What to do when you think all HD cabinets out there are ugly and happen to have an extra Egret 3/Atomiswave SD bezel lying around? You make an Egret/AWSD HD Kit, of course!

HKC 2612A monitor
HKC 2612A monitor

So without further a due; time to dive into the LCD/LED jungle. After lots and lots of measuring and searching I found a 26″ LCD monitor from HKC that fit the Atomiswave bezel: the HKC 2612A. It has a nice, smooth picture with good colors. Not on par with a CRT but that was expected. The native resolution is 1920×1080 but it also does 1366×768 nicely which really is a must since most newer (HD) arcade games operate on this resolution.

Rodotron has an LCD monitor that supports CGA but the measurements were wrong and it had a response time of 6 ms which obviously is too slow. Anyway, who needs CGA on an LCD when you have a pair of MS-9s?

The HKC 2612A boasts a 2 ms response time, full HD, has a good picture and happens to fit the Atomiswave bezel snugly.

Why 26″?

26″ happens to be the largest 16:9 LCD that fits in the bezel. I tried one 27″ but it wouldn’t leave any space for the bezel and would’ve looked awkward. It took me a while to find an LCD panel that fit. LCD panels come with an approx 15 mm frame for keeping the panel together adding about 3 cm to the width of the panel.

The HKC 2616A in an Atomiswave bezel
The HKC 2616A in an Atomiswave bezel

The inner width of the Atomiswave bezel is 61.5 cm. Unfortunately it’s a bit of a gamble since you don’t know the exact width of the LCD panel without taking the monitor apart (and of course voiding the warranty and any chance of returning it on failure). I got lucky – this time. The monitor fit perfectly in the Atomiswave bezel. In fact so perfect even trying to wedge a paper in between the monitor and the bezel was impossible.

Why not go full blown with a 32″ wide screen in a custom cab? Well, the obvious reason is that I don’t like any of the available HD cabs and most of the custom kits more or less tries to imitate the Vewlixes. Also you get closer to the screen on an AWSD cab and on that distance the 26″ works just fine.

Bezel and mounts

The bezel will obviously need to be modified since a 26″ 16:9 monitor won’t be as high as a 29″ 4:3. Hence a few centimeters needs to be added to the height of the bezel and also a couple has to be shaved from the width.

Bezel modifications
Bezel modifications

Modifying the bezel shouldn’t be too hard. The top and bottom can be built with Plastic Padding or other neat solution (I’m open to suggestions here) and the sides just needs a shave and shape, still keeping the outer edges of the bezel intact.

Since the bezel is glossy black, once the dimensions are right, creating the correct black finish shouldn’t pose any problems.

My first plan was to use a VESA mount for the monitor (easy rotation) but abandoned it quickly because the VESA mount was too fragile and not stable enough. So instead I opted for custom aluminum profiles for the mounting plates for low weight and stability. Rotating the monitor will still be easy peasy since it’s both thin and light (compared to a CRT).

More about the HKC 2612A

The HKC panel has holes in each corner, hopefully simplifying the mounting.

HKC 2616A; connectors, chassis and remote
HKC 2612A; connectors, chassis and remote

The chassis is equipped with VGA, DVI and HDMI connectors and the remote cable will de easily extended for placing inside the control panel. It comes packed with a slim 100 – 250 VAC PSU.

In part 2 we’ll be looking a little closer at the HKC panel.

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